Corporate bean counters. You’ve got to love them. They have the investors and stakeholder’s collective backs. After all, every automaker must turn a profit to stay in business (government bailouts and mergers / acquisitions not withstanding). Even households have their bean counters, as our better halves prevent us from buying said Lotus Exige we have been lusting over.
A couple of years ago, tiny Porsche almost took over mighty VW. Oh so close, until that darned recession thing burst the dam and Porsche stockholders where left holding billions of Euros and dollars of debt. So now we have a leaner, not to mention VW-owned version of Porsche and they have to tow the corporate line when it comes to profits. Cue the bean counters…
But is does not have to be so. VW brands like Lamborghini and Bugatti can be those halo brands. Profits? Hmmm maybe a little if you look at books with a hazy focus. But the cars produced out of Sant’Agata Bolognese and Molsheim leave that indelible impression on petrolheads everywhere. The bucket loads of press they garner, with whole magazines devoted to tests, retests and comparo’s. It boggles the mind or internet bandwidth you have available…whichever comes first.
Porsche is also one of those halo brands. And cars like the soon to be launched 918 Supercar and of course the Turbo, GT3 and GT2 versions of the new 991 will have countless pages of press and video devoted to them following their every move around the Nuremberg ring, leaving one to pontificate when enough depreciation settles in for the rest of us to be able to acquire one.
So what about the Boxster, Cayenne and Panamera? The new Boxster is so good, it almost defies logic. The original 986 and 987 series were great in their respective times, but the new one? It redefines the term Roadster. The Cayenne? The new version looks great. Drives great too. Pity we will not be getting the newest Diesel S in the US. For some strange reason, Porsche thinks that Hybrids are all the rage here. I don’t see it. No I mean I really don’t see it, with the exception of the Prius, there are few pure Hybrids on the roads in Texas – something to do with wide-open spaces and fear of really big jacked-up pickups.
The Panamera? That is a different story. It sold well right out of the gate. And the new Sport Turismo concept shown at the Paris Auto Show hopefully shows the design direction that Porsche will go with their sedan. It just looks right. They need a halo car in the Panamera range. They need to showcase new technology too. But you have to wonder if that car needs to be a Hybrid only. If Porsche restricts the new Sport Turismo to a Hybrid powertrain, it kind of feels like they are putting a straight jacket on those who love the shape but want the normal petrol experience. Still, it is cars like this that will stoke the passion for the brand and pay for the next series of great cars that will inevitably follow. Bring on the halo car I say. Bring on the Panamera Sport Turismo, just give us a turbo version too!